A woman will be featured on the new version of the $10 bill, the Treasury Department is set to formally announce on Thursday.
“America’s currency is a way for our nation to make a statement about who we are and what we stand for. Our paper bills — and the images of great American leaders and symbols they depict—have long been a way for us to honor our past and express our values,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a statement. “We have only made changes to the faces on our currency a few times since bills were first put into circulation, and I’m proud that the new 10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman.”
The new bill will be released in 2020, a century after the 19th Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote.
The Treasury Department plans to seek public input on which woman should replace Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first treasury secretary, on the $10 bill. Officials will hold town hall meetings and roundtable discussions to discuss “what qualities best represent democracy to help guide the design process,” the department said. They will also review social media submissions using the hashtag #TheNew10 as well as comments posted to a dedicated part of the Treasury website. Lew will announce the decision later this year.
Advocates have been pushing hard to put female faces on U.S. paper currency. After the Women On 20s campaign launched earlier this year with the goal of getting a woman on the $20 bill by 2020, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced a bill directing Lew to “convene a panel of citizens” to recommend an appropriate person. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) proposed similar legislation in the House. Earlier this month, Shaheen and seven of her Senate colleagues wrote a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to consider the proposal.
The Women On 20s website offers two reasons why the face of Andrew Jackson, the United States’ seventh president, should be replaced on the $20 note. While he is “celebrated for his military prowess, for founding the Democratic party and for his simpatico with the common man,” the site notes, Jackson also forced southeastern Native American tribes into mass migrations westward during the 1830s. In what became known as the Trail of Tears, thousands of people died.
Women On 20s also points out that Jackson was a “fierce opponent” of the central banking system and disfavored paper currency.
However, CNN reported in March that the $10 bill was actually the one due for an overhaul by 2020.
In May, Women On 20s concluded a 10-week poll to find out which woman Americans most wanted on the money. Harriet Tubman finished in first place, followed by Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and Wilma Mankiller. More than 600,000 people participated in the vote.
As for Hamilton, the Treasury website says that he will remain part of the $10 note: “There are many options for continuing to honor Hamilton. While one option is producing two bills, we are exploring a variety of possibilities.”
Shaheen praised the news of the $10 redesign on Thursday.
“Today, those voices all across the country calling for the contributions of women to be honored on our paper currency, were heard and now change is happening,” Shaheen said in a statement. “This announcement follows a tremendous grassroots movement that spread through the power of social media and good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. While it might not be the twenty-dollar bill, make no mistake, this is a historic announcement and a big step forward.”